Living the Dream

old truck in Taos, NM

Doesn’t look too bad. Maybe I’ll fix the tires, suspension, steering, brakes, clutch, and oil leak.

Here we are again, just seventy-two hours after I was ready to blow up everything, toss the whole deal, run away and join the circus, you name it. Just rained right down again out of a clear blue sky. You really should have been here, it was just amazing. There I was, mad enough at everything except the love of my life to leave a second place I loved, if not a third, and when you put it that way, wait a minute.

Following this brilliant new practice I’ve taken up lately of being honest with my wife, I ranted for an hour at least. That way you can drop the hot little truthy things in there and let the current carry them away. She’d heard most of it before, of course, so all she did was listen. By the time I was done, I wasn’t angry any more. Who was that guy, you know? I should do this more often. It’s just so weird.

By the way, do you know she gets up two hours before I do and makes me coffee? I just stagger out to the kitchen in my bathrobe and there it is, every day. If I write “tequila” on the grocery list, she buys me a bottle—the right kind, too. Sometimes she comes home with steak and crab cakes. It’s taken years, but now she gets the two percent milk. She’s also five foot two and under ninety pounds, exercises five days a week, practices classical piano for hours almost daily in her studio, contributes most of the income, keeps the car gassed up, has to dry the clothes on racks beside the wood stove if the weather’s cold, and hasn’t shot me yet.

Yes, it is a wonder. No, I never will forget.

And what do you know but that our buyer’s agent told me about an “unconventional” 3,300 square foot solar house with views and a studio that could be had for less than anything I’ve seen so far and only 5 percent down with no mortgage insurance? Hmm?

That was ten days ago, of course. Yes, I know. In between I was having that fit, right, so I took my time investigating. Didn’t even bother to learn the size of the place until last night, in fact, or the Fannie Mae Homepath loan details until this morning. They fold in up to $35,000 for renovations, and until the end of April, Fannie Mae is even paying closing costs. That part I checked twice: a couple of conditions, but hell, yeah.

Out of the blue I realized such a thing could work. I don’t trust the market here one bit, but getting into a house for less than ten grand of our own money and “paid for” renovations was the Mother of All No-Brainers. I went out for a hike and got so excited, I walked over a quarter of a mile past my turn-around point without even noticing. All of a sudden, I was heading for a cliff looking straight down into the gorge! I didn’t recognize the spot at all. “Where am I?” I spoke out loud.

When I got home I emailed our buyer’s agent to set up a showing. An hour later while doing more digging at the Fannie Mae website, I looked up the property and discovered it was under contract. Say what? As of this very day, that is. Houses in Taos sit and sit and never sell, except that this one did in just ten days! Bah. Who’d want to live there anyway, with hantavirus, snakes, and evil spirits, sitting on an earthquake fault? The well-share neighbors are probably total assholes, too.

My guy’s reply was perfect:

snoozing and losing
birds and worms…
we just do what we can do
and somehow we end up right where we’re supposed to be

That’s just goddamn nice, makes me proud to share a generation with the man. There are some other things in common, too. That’s what you get in Taos with a certain kind of vibe, and here is where I am.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • Rita April 3, 2014, 10:18 AM

    Hmmm. Back when I was a real estate agent, I would have sent more than one email. I would have called with details. You weren’t the only one snoozin. Then again, this is how agents train you to leap when a good one shows up. Then again, maybe it had too many problems.

    • JHF April 3, 2014, 10:59 AM

      That’s a fair point (or two). In any case, I drove by the property after my hike and wasn’t jumping-up-and-down crazy about it: a little close to the road, lots of houses nearby, etc. And it is a foreclosure. Appliances all gone, things not cared for. Very weird owner-built bathtub, so Taos! “Heh. I’ll just dig a hole and stick some tiles on the sides!” No real kitchen, just a counter w/ a sink along the wall of one big room. Original owner, a well-known artist, died in ’05, don’t know if it’s been occupied at all since then. Guess the heirs fell behind on payments. Can’t understand why they didn’t try to sell it first.

      Main attractions were CHEAP entry to ownership, views, space. Location other than views, not so much. Place might be analogous to my truck! 🙂 Not devastated, anyway. My wife hasn’t seen it but is demonstrably relieved. (When I get “cheap fever,” look out.) Happy to credit my guardian angels with saving me again, as our agent more or less implies.

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